Following public backlash and threats of a boycott from more than 150 players agents and prospects of the 2022 NFL Scouting Combine, the NFL announced Monday it is amending its bubble protocols that it initially had in place late last week, according to NFL.com.
The NFL Scouting Combine informed all 324 invited draft prospects last Saturday in a memo that players attending the 2022 combine will be “restricted to secure Combine venues during their entire time in Indianapolis for their protection,” according to NFL Network Insider Tom Pelissero, who broke the league-wide news on the policy.
In the original memo, the league stated that “prospects who violate this policy will be disqualified from further participation and sent home,” according to Pelissero’s reporting. Additionally, players were allowed to invite one medical support person (a trainer) to assist them during the Combine, running March 1-7.
The league was also requiring full vaccination against COVID-19 — including a booster shot — for that support person, if approved by the league.
Instead, after pushback from prospects and player agents, with more than 150 threatening to boycott the Combine, the NFL amended its policy Monday, according to Pelissero and fellow NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport, allowing players access to places out outside of secure areas during their week-long stay in Indianapolis in an important event ahead of the 2022 NFL Draft.
“We encourage all players to remain within the secure Combine areas at all times for your safety,” the memo states. “However, if you would like to leave the se cure areas during free time in your schedule, you are now permitted to do so at your own risk.”
The memo also states that players’ “approved medical support personnel (physical therapist, massage therapist, or approved athletic trainer)” can enter secured areas provided they follow proper procedures.
The amended memo effectively does away with the bubble environment announced on Saturday, allowing prospects access to their full team of coaches and athletic trainers was chief among the issues for the players and their representation.
By amending the bubble protocol, the NFL avoided an unmitigated disaster at the premier offseason league event leading up to the NFL Draft in late April in Las Vegas.